A Year in Review: 2016

2016, what a fantastic year 😎

Thank you and goodbye, 2016

With 2016 wrapped up and 2017 already well on its way, I figured I should do a recap of the past year. For my friends and family, this is a good opportunity to share what I’ve been up to the past year. Aside from my occasional social media updates, I haven’t been too active in many of my social groups from college. I realized that this is normal when you transition into the “adult” world. On the flip side, I’ve also discovered that with true friends, it’ll feel like time hasn’t passed when you meet up with them after a while.

It’s good to periodically look back to see how far you’ve come, review/reflect, and use what you’ve learned to improve your results going forward.

Looking back and reflecting also gives you an opportunity to look into your B.A.G., which is an acronym for:

  • Blessings: what you are grateful for
  • Achievements: what you have accomplished that you’re proud of
  • Goals: what you plan to accomplish in the future

I’m committed to writing a yearly review every year in January. This is not only for my own amusement, but also a reminder of how far I’ve come and how I can use the lessons I’ve learned to improve in the upcoming year.

What I’m grateful for:

First and foremost, I’m always grateful for my family. I always feel so blessed to be able to spend time with them, whether its traveling with them across the country or visiting them in NorCal for special occasions. I’m so thankful that my family is in good health, we’re all on good terms, and we’re in constant contact.

Of course, I’m thankful for my health. It might be a huge cliche, but I’ve learned its important to be thankful for the little things as if they were the big things. I am grateful to not have any serious illness or physical deficiencies. More importantly, I live in a first-world country in the 21st century. I’m blessed to not have to face the challenges that millions of others have to face just because of where they live.

I’m also very thankful that I love where I work. I love going to work where people have high standards. Not only is it important to feel like what you do matters, but also that everyone around you performs at the same level of excellence they expect from you. I love going into work knowing I have to give my best because everyone around me is too. The owners always stress constant growth for everyone. As the saying goes, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” I love that we have such a fun vibe where we all have the same work ethic, but not being so serious that we can’t enjoy and laugh about the silly things. Having fun and enjoyable coworkers makes it so much easier to want to come into work.

This might sound trivial, but every morning I’m always thankful that my car still working. My first car has lasted almost 10 years and it is still in decently good condition. Even though I could easily justify financing a new one, keeping and maintaining my car allows me to save and invest money that would have gone to car payments. Although buying a new car would give me instant gratification for a little while, I know it won’t last. Keeping my car is the most economic and logical decision for my long-term goals.

I’m very grateful to have found and committed to a church family this year. Not only did I join a small group, I joined a couple of ministries (creative video ministry and hip-hop dance ministry) and got baptized in December with my small group leader Kristina. My small group is filled with such inspiring, supportive, and compassionate individuals. I feel blessed to be a part of a group of likeminded people as we walk together in our spiritual journey.

I’m grateful to live where we do in Buena Park, right in the middle of an Asian/Korean part of town. This is fantastic because it means Asian food and grocery stores are close by. While it was not our intention to be near Asian communities, it was definitely a pleasant surprise. The downside to living in BP is that my commute to work is longer, about 30-60 minutes longer (upwards of 1.5hrs total time in traffic one way). The silver lining is that I can listen to more audiobooks during my longer drive. Most importantly, the trade off is that my rent has never been cheaper, our roommates (whom we met on Craigslist) are the best roommates I’ve ever had, and I’m able to spend a lot more time with my girlfriend.

I’m so happy to feel like I’m in a constant honeymoon phase with my girlfriend, even after four years in. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs along the way, but I think that’s what makes our relationship so strong. Strength is developed through adversity, and since we’ve been overcome so many obstacles, the foundation of our relationship has never been more rock solid. Most of all, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t make the tough decision to keep pushing through the challenges.

Lastly, I always feel super blessed to be able to have access so many great resources for learning. Personal growth and development has been a part of my daily routine for the past three years, and I don’t ever see that changing. I’ve invested so much time and money in books, online courses, conferences and seminars. Another one of my favorite sayings, “show me your calendar and your bank statements and I’ll show you where your priorities are.” Investing in myself and in my knowledge is playing the long game. I know it will pay huge dividends down the line.

Memorable moments:

This year was a year of many first for me. At only 25 years old, there are still so many more experiences out there to enjoy. Here’s a quick list of some of the notable things that have happened this year:

      • Took yoga for 2 months
      • Went to an archery range (birthday gift from my gf)
      • Joined small group and got baptized at my church Saddleback Irvine South
      • Went to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL (childhood dream)
      • Visited Arizona with both my parents (they’ve  been divorced since I was 2 years old)
      • Went flyboarding in Miami with my sister
      • Won 3 different prizes on the radio:
        • Pitbull concert tickets (97.1)
        • Kygo concert tickets (97.1)
        • Disneyland parkhopper tickets (106.7)
      • Took a rock climbing class
      • Went to a wine & paint class
      • Rented bikes and cruised around Huntington Beach
      • Bought a Universal Studios Hollywood season pass (went 6-7 times)
      • Bought a Disneyland pass
      • Went to an epic Coldplay concert
      • Celebrated 4-year anniversary with my significant other
      • Moving to Buena Park with my other half, in between both our workplaces
      • Recorded a long-awaited and hilarious interview with an 11-year old

Accomplishments & stats:

Here are a few accomplishments I’m proud of, and a few fun statistics that I was able to track:

      • Read 34 books
      • Wrote 13 book reviews
      • Traveled to Orlando, Phoenix, Miami, Las Vegas, Bay Area
      • Rented a car 5 times
      • Flew on an airplane 4 times
      • 240 days straight of tracking what I ate via MyFitnessPal (thanks Jane for the recommendation!)
      • In 4 months, raised my good cholesterol from 36 (below normal) to 60 mg/dL per doctor’s order by:
        • Running 136 miles total
        • Reducing my sugar and starchy carb intake
        • Tracking everything I ate every day
        • Eating avocados and eggs almost every day
      • Learned how to manage and automate my finances via I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
      • Being the “Anchor” for my company’s Monday Morning Show-and-Tell/Storytime
      • Started the joke-of-the-day club
      • Opened my rothIRA and actually learned how to invest
      • Successfully stuck to Slow Carb Diet for 4 months
      • Started tithing to my church consistently every week via automatic payments
      • Survived OC Fit’s bootcamp!
      • Lost 8lbs from July to October by modifying my diet and fitness bootcamp
      • Got my mom to try raw fish for the first time in her life
      • Took this cute girl to Benihana for her first time on her birthday
      • Beat a 5-year old in a dance battle
      • Beat a 12-year old at basketball

 

Big themes & lessons of 2016:

God first, family second. Kind of self-explanatory. I’ve learned that when you center yourself around something bigger than yourself, you tap into a greater, inner-strength that helps you stay grounded when everything else seems out of control.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” -Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Have faith. Faith is the opposite of worry.

“When you worry, you suffer twice”Newt Scamander

Life is all about relationships. We are meant to live with, interact, and be around others. I try to remember this fact that we aren’t meant to live in isolation. We are meant to connect with others. Without our relationships, life would be empty.

“The expression of emotion and compassion is the glue that binds us. When our relationships are stronger, our businesses and careers are more successful” -Keith Ferrazzi

Adding value to others. I believe the purpose of life is to add value to the world by helping make other people’s lives better, whether they be someone around the world or the person right next to you. People think this might be hard to do, but we underestimate the power of the little things. Simple things like donating to your favorite charity regularly or smiling when you pass by someone who looks like they’re having a bad day. We all have the ability to make the world better.

“The only perfection there is is helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we’re here, to make each other feel safe. Always value others, there’s so much peace in taking care of others” -Andre Agassi

Appreciating what you have. We always want more, but we’re not thankful for what we currently have. One of my favorite quotes I heard this year:

“How can you expect to have more when you don’t even appreciate what you have?” -Bubzbeauty

Habits and automation. It is the antithesis of motivation and will, both finite resources. Throughout the year, I’ve been able to add several big things to my daily routine that no longer require willpower to do. For example, I’ve been able to stick to my new diet, exercise, pray/meditate, read my goals & affirmations, journal, and track what I eat everyday. I’ve also learned the value of automating things like my finances to completely remove any stress or worry from that area. The peace of mind is priceless.

“Dominate your finances by having your system passively do the right thing for you. It will help you automatically manage your money, guilt-free, for years to come. Bills, payments, and even investments will be automated, leaving you to focus on the things that really matter” -Ramit Sethi

Front-end loading. Doing the hard work up front and being able to relax. I front load my days with my daily disciplines and the important things I need to accomplish while I have the most energy. This allows me to relax during the back-half of my day when I have less motivation and energy. Since I completed the important stuff early on, I don’t feel guilty if I do something unproductive like watch a movie or spend time on social media.

Goals for 2017:

Build a healthy, 2nd income. I’ve learned from many mentors that financial security comes from not relying on one source of income, but developing multiple sources. Although I have already generated income from side projects, I have other plans already in motion for bigger projects.

Travel out of country at least twice. I already have set trip out of the country in March, I want to finalize a trip to a Asia in the second half of the year.

6 minute mile, 10 muscle ups, and 10 handstand push-ups. I gotta start running everyday while simultaneously practicing progression moves for the other two.

8% body fat. Another long-time goal of mine. With my new diet in place, I just need to get back into a consistent workout regimen and groove.

Daily meditation. This one is just eliminating my own excuses. My plan is to start at 1 minute per day and work my way up to 5, and then 10 minutes daily in the morning.

Write a blog post ever week. My plan is to draft something mid-week (on Wednesday, for example) and then finalize something Friday night or Saturday morning for publishing on Sunday afternoon.

Donate a total of $1000. This can easily be accomplished if I increase my donations to $20/week, but I’ll need to slowly work up to that so my budget doesn’t feel it.

Show more kindness, compassion, empathy, and patience to others. Not always easy to do, but something I can always continue to improve.

“When one door closes, another opens”

I’m super excited going into this year. Looking back, I am appreciative and grateful. I’ve accomplished and learned so much. My 2017 self will have my 2016 self to thank for his results. Looking forward, I am excited, hopeful, and ready to step it up.

Hello, 2017.

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